Bharat Ek Khoj

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Ramayana Part - ll
(Episode 8)

While the Ramkatha singers are all praise for Rama's many battles with the Rakshasas (demons), the vignette in lathakali dance show the fierce fights between Man and Demon, with defeat writ large for the latter. Ravana now enters the scene, suave and dignified as would befit one whose father was from the higher class and who had received initiation into advanced scholarship. Listening to his sister Surpanakha's ranting on how she was victimized by Rama and Lakshmana, and her raising an alarm that many demons including Khara and Dushana, Ravana's kin, were killed in the northern forests, Ravana reluctantly enters into the fray and decides to punish Rama by kidnapping Sita.

In a saga's disguise, Ravana meets Rama in his panchvati cottage and receives surprisingly warm hospitality. Convincing rama to go away and capture the Himalayan Swarana (golden bear ) neaded for holding last rites of his departed father, he force fully and openly abducts Sita. The resistance offered by Jatayu, the super-bird and Rama's dovotee, an his consequent fight to death come alive in the srailela chhau style with mask's and musical support by flute and big Dhamsa(drum). on discovering Sita's disappearance, Rama curses himself. Incidentally, the non-Aryans compised not only domens but also Vanaras (Monkeys). to rival kings of the latter are brothers Vali and Sugrive , whose enacted in seraikela Chhau Dance, supported by Ramkatha singing. Rama poses as the representative of the Ayodhya king Bharat and inlist the support of Hanuman to explore lanka. A vivid Kathakali enactment depicts the burning of Lanka by Hanuman and Seraikela Chhau the fight between Rama and ravana, describing the fall of the Titan, Ravana.

Just as the above narrative has many departures from the popular Ramayana legends,a fascinating feature here is Rama's desire to learn the statecraft from his archenemy Ravana. The fallen Ravana is still conscious enough ignore a haughty Lakshmana, but when Rama sits at his feet, the dying demon slowly opens up with his hard-earned experience as Marg Darshan (road-map) to Rama Kindness, love and charity to other are quintessential qualities; performing good deeds is important; anger, vanity and hatred are tantamount to bad deeds and to be discarded. Ravana's mind went for severe ignominy to Sita: intelligent persons would not commit such acts. Nehru considers the epic Ramayana and its many legends containing enough grains of truth to abide by in the society, such as, truthfulness, keeping one's words, heroism and, above all, undertaking sacrifices. To stick to one's ideal may be difficult, but insurmountable to achieve.